Book Review: Six Simple Rules

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Boston Consulting Group partners Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman, which says bosses must stop trying to manage complexity

Six Simple Rules by Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman
Six Simple Rules by Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman

Complexity is one of the latest watchwords bandied about by management gurus. What does it mean for the manager, and how can life at work be simplified? It's a tall order, but the authors - Boston Consulting Group partners Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman - argue that you can make any organisation less complicated by using six simple rules. You must stop trying to manage complexity - let people work together and use their own intelligence to meet the challenges they face; and the authors' rules will provide the methods to help your colleagues get on with it.

These rules derive from organisational sociology and include: Understand What Your People Do, Increase Reciprocity and Reward Those Who Cooperate. The democratic idea of establishing reciprocity between colleagues is an attractive one, designed to help impel people to deal with complexity. It centres on creating "feedback loops" that expose staff as directly as possible to the consequences of their actions, and tying them into the idea that personal success depends on the mutual success of the group. By giving personal objectives that overlap with group objectives, everyone is motivated to achieve. It's simple, really.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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